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Tug of war/tuggy games… good or bad!?!

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    Izzy does love to play tug of war with me… I’m concerned that this is actually not a good game to play because, ultimately she’s hopefully going to be picking up pheasants etc and I don’t want her to play tuggy with one of those!!

    Should I avoid it altogether or is it good for her to play such games??

    NB – When I throw her stuffed sock (mini pheasant lookalike!) she brings it back, puts it by my feet, then sits down awaiting her treat so clearly something has sunk in there!


    You need to teach the ‘dead’ cue so that she drops it…

    Kizkiznobite is your woman for this.. she’s on her hols but will have lots of advice when she’s back…

    also you need to teach the ‘mine’ and ‘yours’


    I would stop tug games  😮 am sure it’s not good for a gundog and I know it’s not good for young teeth  😉


    my gundogs have never been trained as gundogs – but i am sure birds are supposed to be delivered to hand not dropped. i don’t know if it matters at this point in the training though.


    which gundog training books have you read?

    not that i am much of a source of advice on them – kiz will be better. i didn’t do gundog training so went for breed specific books – GSPs today by David Layton and The FCR by Joan Mason.

    i don’t know which lab ones there are. has John Halsted of Drakeshead written any books?  ???


    You can still play tug games with gundogs expected to work in the field.

    Helen Phillips who wrote Clicker Gundog and works her HV on shoots specifially teaches this game.


    I have always played very strong tug games with my Border Collie – she snarls, growls and spits and, at 13 years of age, can still drag me across the floor if she wants.  OK, she’s not a gundog but she can retrieve anything I ask without putting a mark on it or a dent in it…including whole sausages, chocolate buscuits and raw eggs.

    I have, of course, always had strict rules about tuggy:
    only tug when given

    • permission
      stop immediately when asked
      any tooth contact means the game ends immediately

    As for the concerns about teeth…commonsense is all that’s needed, i.e. don’t tug hard (let the puppy do the tugging rather than you putting the effort in!) or for too long!


    Good point Marion, I am not sure how old this dog is but NO tugging should be done during teething, or retrieving etc.


    [quote author=justpetdogs link=topic=12074.msg232273#msg232273 date=1216908541]
    I have always played very strong tug games with my Border Collie –

    me to  ;D


    Puppy is 10 weeks

    Have the Helen Philips book and would highly recommend it  🙂


    If you re going to train your dog to be a gun dog – then it probably isn’t the best game to be playing…she will learn that it is ok the shake whatever she has in her mouth.
    Maybe play ‘search and retrieve’, that will help her for when she is learning to bring back phesants.

    I play tug with my boy and he loves it…but we only started playing once his ‘leave’ command was spot on and he released every time on the first go.



    gunners are fine at playing tuggy as long as the rules are in place…one toy only allowed to be tugged…they understand that this one is for tugging and worrying and this is the only time it allowed….pack manager (the human or the dog pack manager….so in our case either me cubert or amilou for example) starts and finishes and toy then goes away…


    I believe that teaching tuggy is practically an art in itself.  You can teach pups to play softly, and give easily….or teach them to play hard.  Depends on what you want.  With this dog you want a soft play….and hence a soft retrieve.  I do this by sitting on the floor, and not allowing the dog to run past me.  I throw tuggy, and the pup is encouraged to come to me.  If the pup drops the tuggy at my feet, I pick it up and throw it.  I do a lot of just throwing the tuggy as a reward for the pup bringing it to me.  The pup realises that if he brings the tuggy to me, I’ll throw it for him.  Gradually the pup comes closer to me, and I hold my hand out for the tuggy.  Eventually he will drop the tuggy in my hand (probably by mistake!  ;D) and, again, the reward is me throwing it for him.  This will happen more often, and the pup’s reward is again me throwing the tuggy.  I only start to “tug” when pup is placing it in my hand.  (When he places it in my hand, I say “Give” so I already have my release word.)  And when I say “tug” I mean a gentle, gentle tug.  And I immediately release, and allow the pup to “win”.  The game of tug is all about the pup winning the game…..otherwise why would the pup want to play?  This gentle tug can stay a gently tug….and therefore a soft tug (and retrieve) or you can progress to a harder tug. 


    Why is crafty a guest now?

    …Oh wait i just remembered he’s not!  :whistle:


    He hasnt posted in a while though,hope everything is ok? :-\

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